Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Be
ye. Hebrew, "you are," &c. It may be connected with the preceding chapter. --- Cut, as the barbarians and infidels
do, who have no hope, 1 Thessalonians iv. 12., and Leviticus xix. 29. --- Dead idols, Adonis, &c. The Arabs
and Saracens cut the hair on the forepart of the head only, and so did the ancient Scotch monks, in imitation, as they pretended,
of St. John. The Egyptians cut off the hair of their head and eye-brows, when they were initiated in the mysteries of Isis,
(St. Ambrose, ep. 58,) to testify that they partook in her sorrow for the death of her husband, Osiris. Hence, it is probable,
that Moses forbids any conformity in such superstitious practices; particularly as the Israelites were consecrated to the
service of the living God. (Calmet)
Ver. 3. Unclean.
See the annotations on Leviticus xi. (Challoner) --- Some of the beasts here specified were not mentioned before, as the buffle,
Ver. 5. Buffle.
Hebrew yachmur, which some translate "the fallow-deer." The Arabs give this name to a beast resembling a hart, which
has horns and red hair. (Calmet) --- It was served up on the table of Solomon, 3 Kings iv. 23. Pliny ([Natural History?] viii.
13,) mentions the bubalus of Africa, which is like a calf. (Menochius) --- Chamois, (tragelaphum) a beast which
has the head of a he-goat, and the carcass of a hart. (Scaliger.) (Pliny, viii. 33.) --- Bochart translates akko after
the Arabic, "the wild goat." --- Pygarg, another species of goat, (Pliny, viii. 53,) of the colour of ashes. (Bellon.,
q. 51.) Dishon means "ashes" in Hebrew. --- Goat, (orygem) "a wild goat, (Septuagint; Bochart; &c.)
or ox." Aristotle allows it only one horn. Juvenal mentions that the Getulians feasted on its flesh; and the Egyptian priests,
according to Horus, were allowed to eat it, without any scrupulous examination of the sealers. (Calmet) --- Camelopardalus.
This animal resembles a camel in its head and longish neck, and the panther in the spotted skin. (Pliny, viii. 18.) --- Bochart
(iii. 21,) thinks that the Hebrew zamer, means "a wild goat," noted for "leaping."
Ver. 7. Cherogril,
or porcupine, Leviticus xi. 5. St. Barnabas and Clement of Alexandria (Pæd. ii. 10,) subjoin the hyena to the hare,
though the name occur not in Moses. This animal was supposed to change sexes every year, and was a symbol of incontinency.
Ver. 10. Unclean.
St. Barnabas adds, "Thou shalt not eat the murena, polypus, or cuttle fish;" and these are in effect of the description given
by Moses. (Calmet)
Ver. 13. Ringtail
(ixion). Hebrew raa. The same bird seems to be called dae in Leviticus, by the change of the first letter,
though it is there translated the kite. The ixion is a sort of white, quick-sighted vulture. --- Kite. Hebrew
diae, according to Bochart, means the vulture, as Isaias (xxxiv. 15,) insinuates that this bird goes in flocks, while
the kite is a solitary bird.
Ver. 15. Ostrich.
Hebrew, "the daughter of the júne." The Rabbins say only the young ones were eaten. But this seems doubtful, with respect to many nations,
which formerly served up ostriches at table. Heliogabalus presented some of these, as well as camel, to his guests, falsely
asserting, (Calmet) that the Jews were commanded to eat them, præceptum Judæis ut ederent. (Lamprid.)
Ver. 19. Wings.
Hebrew, "every reptile that flyeth," such as bees. (Calmet)
Ver. 21. Of
itself, or by suffocation. --- Stranger, who has not embraced your religion. (Menochius) --- Hence it is inferred,
that the Jews might keep unclean animals, and sell them; as they did not defile till they were dead. (Jansenius) --- If they
had been unclean by nature, they could not have been sold, which shews that this ceremonial law regarded only the Jewish religion.
--- Dam. All appearance of cruelty must be avoided. Christ, who is signified by the kid, on account of his assuming
our sinful nature, shall not be slain in his infancy. (St. Thomas Aquinas, i. 2. q. 102. a. 6.) (Worthington). --- Some take
this prohibition literally, and extend it to calves and lambs. The Arabs use milk in almost all their ragouts. (Roger. ii.
2.) --- Others think that kids must not be eaten, while they are as yet too tender, Qui plus lactis habet quam sanguinis.
(Juvenal, Sat. xi.) --- But we believe that God forbids the paschal lamb or kid to be offered while it sucks. It must be of
a competent age, of one year, Exodus xii. 5., and xxiii. 19. Other victims would do if they were only eight days old,
Leviticus xxii. 27. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. Tithes.
The Jews carried with them some money to buy peace-offerings. (Estius)
Ver. 26. Herds.
Hebrew, "oxen." --- Sheep; under which name are comprised goats.
Ver. 29. Filled.
Of this feast the owner did not partake, (St. Augustine, q. 20,) as he did of the former, ver. 26. (Menochius) --- Josephus
([Antiquities?] iv. 8,) acknowledges three sorts of tithes: but Calmet thinks that only two were paid every third year, and
that the same tithe is mentioned, ver. 22, and 28., and Tobias i. 7. The only difference is, that on the third and sixth years,
the products were consumed on the spot, and in other years they were spent at Jerusalem. See Leviticus xxvii. Many, however,
believe that three tithes were then exacted: 1. For the Levites. 2. For a feast at Jerusalem, and to defray
the expenses on the road. 3. For the poor at home. (Du Hamel; &c.) (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
In mourning for the dead, they are not to follow the ways
of the Gentiles: the distinction of clean and unclean meats: ordinances concerning tithes, and first-fruits.
1 Be *ye children of the Lord your God: you shall not cut yourselves,
nor make any baldness for the dead;
2 *Because thou art a holy people to the Lord thy God: and he chose thee
to be his peculiar people of all nations that are upon the earth.
3 *Eat not the things that are unclean.
4 These are the beasts that you shall eat, the ox, and the sheep, and
5 The hart, and the roe, the buffle, the chamois, the pygarg, the wild
goat, the camelopardalus.
6 Every beast that divideth the hoof in two parts, and cheweth the cud,
you shall eat.
7 But of them that chew the cud, but divide not the hoof, you shall not
eat, such as the camel, the hare, and the cherogril: because they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof, they shall be unclean
8 The swine also, because it divideth the hoof, but cheweth not the cud,
shall be unclean; their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch.
9 These shall you eat of all that abide in the waters: All that have
fins and scales, you shall eat.
10 Such as are without fins and scales, you shall not eat, because they
11 All birds that are clean you shall eat.
12 The unclean eat not: to wit, the eagle, and the grype, and the osprey,
13 The ringtail, and the vulture, and the kite according to their kind:
14 And all of the raven's kind:
15 And the ostrich, and the owl, and the larus, and the hawk according
to its kind:
16 The heron, and the swan, and the stork,
17 And the cormorant, the porphyrion, and the night-crow,
18 The bittern, and the charadrion, every one in their kind: the houp
also and the bat.
19 Every thing that creepeth and hath little wings shall be unclean,
and shall not be eaten.
20 All that is clean, you shall eat.
21 But whatsoever is dead of itself, eat not thereof. Give it to the
stranger, that is within thy gates to eat, or sell it to him: because thou art the holy people of the Lord *thy God. Thou
shalt not boil a kid in the milk of his dam.
22 Every year thou shalt set aside the tithes of all thy fruits that
the earth bringeth forth,
23 And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he
shall choose, that his name may be called upon therein, the tithe of thy corn, and thy wine, and thy oil, and the first-born
of thy herds and thy sheep: that thou mayst learn to fear the Lord thy God at all times.
24 But when the way, and the place which the Lord thy God shall choose,
are far off, and he hath blessed thee, and thou canst not carry all these things thither,
25 Thou shalt sell them all, and turn them into money, and shalt carry
it in thy hand, and shalt go to the place which the Lord shall choose:
26 And thou shalt buy with the same money whatsoever pleaseth thee, either
of the herds, or of sheep, wine also and strong drink, and all that thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat before the Lord
thy God, and shalt feast, thou and thy house:
27 And the Levite that is within thy gates: beware thou forsake him not,
because he hath no other part in thy possession.
28 The third year thou shalt separate another tithe of all things that
grow to thee at that time: and shalt lay it up within thy gates.
29 And the Levite that hath no other part nor possession with thee, and
the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates, shall come and shall eat and be filled: that the
Lord thy God may bless thee in all the works of thy hands that thou shalt do.
1: Year of the World 2553.
2: Deuteronomy vii. 6. and xxvi. 18.
3: Leviticus xi. 4.
21: Exodus xxiii. 19. and xxxiv. 26.